October 27, 2021

Breakfast in Bangalore – 1

Lingering over a hot dosa / upma + filter coffee breakfast is one of the simple pleasures of a Bangalore weekend morning. Not so much the lingering in some places but in general, there is an air of what’s-the-big-hurry on these occasions. This being the general air in Bangalore. Which suits me fine sometimes. Just sometimes. The problem is that the waiters in these places also have the same attitude – what’s the big hurry? Add to this the other major chip-on-shoulder that these guys in old Bangalore eating places carry, viz. be grateful for what and when I serve you, and sometimes it turns out to be a patience-testing meal. Think: India Coffee House. Grrrr.

Anyway… here, the first in a series on these wonderful ‘Bangalore Breakfast’ options.

I may as well start with the legend: MTR. High on the list of the aforementioned waiters-with-attitude Bangalore places. It’s a bit like being in the Tirupati temple (I am told, I have not been there) – there is always a huge crowd, people waiting have the same look of eager devotion on their faces and they are generally pushed around by the man in charge of the “here is where you sit” arrangements. Defy him and you don’t get served any food – I kid you not. Add to this the fact that MTR always has only limited options at any meal – take it or leave it.

So strictly speaking, not a favourite favourite with me – I like the food there. What am I saying, I love their dosa. I respect the fact that it is an old Bangalore tradition – established in 1924. I like the way people head to MTR after their morning walk at Lalbagh to undo any good the exercise may have done, with a dosa soaked in ghee, followed by the special sweet of the morning. I like the way they serve their filter coffee (wonderful pick-me-up!) in silver glasses, with that warm froth on top. I like how large families come there for a together meal, any day of the week. I just don’t like the way they push me around – but then, you win some, you lose some.

And I am overjoyed by the existence of the new MTR on St. Mark’s Road – nicer seating, friendlier staff (well, they don’t actually snarl) and more choice of what you can actually eat.

16 thoughts on “Breakfast in Bangalore – 1

  1. Oh, this post makes me miss BLR more than ever! Apart from the “famous” ones, one thing I so love about BLR is that one can get such cheap and yummy breakfast at every neighbourhood darshini – and many of them so neatly maintained too. This is something I am sorely missing in Chennai. Contrary to the image of this city as an idli-dosa place, neighbourhood joints aren’t a patch on BLR darshinis. Plus, the good ones are way overpriced.

  2. reading this after a breakfast of cornflakes, you make my mouth water! never been to MTR.. actually never been to any restaurant in b’lore.. there are just too many relatives at whose houses I am expected to eat 🙂

  3. Been to India coffee house last year as a first timer travelling from Australia with my husband who is a pukka B’lore boy. LOVED the place, its a sad reality that places like these are fast fading away making way to the so called ‘hep’ cafes. I hope we realise this before its too late.

  4. I miss MTR…even the snarly stuff as you put it. But given the fact that “Indian Food” anywhere abroad is synonymous with Naan and Lamb Tikka, I am happy that they still keep the Southern Indian food tradition alive in MTR. Being a South Indian myself, I wish there were more Southern Indian restaurants abroad so that people understand that Indian Food is not just Naan and Lamb Tikka. I would personally kill for that dosa with ghee and sweet of the day! 🙂

    1. Now that upma has come out tops in a contest, maybe more of Indian food will become known to the world – anyway, all curse the person who positioned Chicken Tikka Masala as the face of Indian food…

  5. Charukesi … after reading this post I decided to give the MTR at Lalbaug a skip and went to the one on St.Mark’s street. It was closed! Shuttered down tight. And it was only 8:30. Any reason … I mean is it common for them to open only in the mornings? I was in B’lore for a very short time so could not actually find out the reason. Was very disappointed. Thought of letting you know.

    1. Sharmila, that’s a pity… And well, this post is *Breakfast in Bangalore* – I have no clue about dinner there. thanks for letting me know – but I wonder what you expect me to do?!

  6. I don’t expect you to do anything Charukesi … just thought of letting you know about my experience. It was my first visit to Bangalore and your blog has been a help … and maybe it was my excitement about the visit that got me carried away I guess. 🙂

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